Sincerest Flattery

“O for that night,
when I in him, might live invisible and dim!”

In Days of the Guardian, the character, “The Captain,” has a vast love for poetry and literature, combined with a large memory. He quotes from his faves all the time, as if the words possessed a mind of their own.

Speaking of quotes, it has been said (credit goes to a Charles Caleb Colton) that ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.’ I wholeheartedly agree. Authors have their own favorites and are strongly influenced by other authors. What better way to spread the joy than to sprinkle a novel with their sage wisdom (always giving them the credit, of course…) One of my favorite authors, Madeleine L’Engle, introduced me to Henry Vaughan (quoted above) in her novel, Ring of Endless Light.

Take note of the quotes in The Red String. From Henry Vaughan and C.S. Lewis, to Shakespeare and the Bible, there is much literary wisdom to glean from. If you are strictly a fiction reader, maybe this will give you a sneak peek of literature you never knew about before. Who knows, maybe you are a lover of poetry like The Captain. You just never knew it before!

Literature influences included in The Red String

Henry Vaughan

C.S. Lewis

Shakespeare

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Walt Whitman

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Matthew 6:9-13

Anne Lamott

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12 thoughts on “Sincerest Flattery

  1. Great list! I too love to store (in documents and, sometimes, in my mind) quotes from great writers. I want to teach myself to write in different styles by imitating different authors–starting with Jane Austen. 🙂

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      • Thank you. I hadn’t thought of them in terms of the being lyrical, but in retrospect—most of them come come from 2007-2008—that is quite true. Cadence was always a big part of their composition, and I remember that I would almost sing them to myself to ensure they’e were phrased correctly.

        I hope to post another tomorrow, and as I was copying it from paper back to electronic format, I was singing it exactly as I now remembered five or six years ago.

        Yes, lyrical is the right word. Thank you for the observation.

        I’ve wondered on the odd occasion if I could be a lyricist for song writing. What’s that experience like?

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      • Yes! They have a nice cadence- perfect word. Song writing is very subjective. Lyrics are usually the first thing I write, but I have adapted a few poems into songs- some word for word, others not. For example, James Whitcomb Riley’s poem “If I Knew What Poets Know” was a word-for-word song. I adapted a poem by Dietrich Bonhoeffer called “Who I am?” into a song called Bird in a Cage. I would get together with a songwriter you know (they are everywhere- like bugs). See if something can be created (again)! =)

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